Notes and Disclaimers:  The following work is a fiction of my own creating.  the characters, however, are copywrited by Tachiwaka Megumi and are owned by Kodansha and TMS, whom I would like to thank for the pleasure they have provided me.

                                                                                                                                by Stirling Twilight


The Diamond Clip


From where he stood, he could see her clearly, and could tell she hadn’t seen him. He knew her nature well enough to know that if she had seen him, she would have approached, or at the very least, said hello. She was wearing a summer dress that was as cheerful as the weather. He also noticed, almost reflectively, that it fit her very well. Momentarily embarrassed at this thought, he laughed and dropped his hand back to his side from behind his head where it had somehow managed to land. He saw her move off down the street, and after a moment’s hesitation, he followed.

She walked with a natural grace and a happy bounce that made him smile. Sunshine gave her a bronze halo that danced as her hair swayed. She carried a basket on her arm, which held several packages; proof that she had been shopping. He decided that the only thing that would complete the pretty scene would be a bouquet of flowers tucked into the basket.

Stopping by a window, he saw her smile of pleasure reflected in the glass as she bent to get a closer look at whatever had caught her eye. He glowered at two boys who, noticing her position, were pointing and commenting to each other. He felt his anger rising, but in the next moment she rose and entered the shop. He lingered for a few moments, the boys forgotten, to giving her time to shop, before drawing close to the window.

For a moment he couldn’t locate her, the shop was dark compared to the brilliance of the day, but then he did see her, and his heart stopped.

She stood at the counter, admiring herself in a mirror; her hair swept up in a ponytail on the top of her head in a diamond clip. His jaw dropped.

She was the image of Saint Tail.

The resemblance was uncanny. But even as he gawked, her hair cascaded down like a waterfall, the clip flashed as it was passed back and all the world returned to normal. His straining lungs drew in air.

Turning, she moved to the door and he stepped back, out of sight as she exited. He watched her pass several stores before he again fell in behind her.

She drew up to a bus stop and he saw her get in line. Walking past her, his face turned aside, he did the same.

When the bus arrived a few minutes later, it was so full he was afraid that neither of them would get on, but when she did his fears increased, would there be room for him? Luck was with him and the man behind him as they squeezed on. He scanned the people around him, searching for her, but the crowd hid her from sight. Excusing himself as best he could, he moved further into the press, searching for a lone redhead.

He found her close to the center, hanging onto the nearest pole. She looked uncomfortable, but then, so did everyone else. The bus hissed and lurched into motion, and he hastily grabbed a handle to keep from falling. For several minutes he stood, just watching her.

Her profile presented itself to him as she stared out the window, and he took his time memorizing its line. It flashed through his mind that he didn’t think he would ever get tired of seeing it. This surprised him, but at the same time he saw the truth in it. Suddenly he wanted to be near her, maybe talk to her. Smiling in apology, he worked his way forward, always keeping one eye on her. She still glowed in the afternoon light, seemingly a beacon that he was drawn to, and then she was only an arm’s length away.

Just then came the sound of squealing tires, the blare of horns, and the bus was thrown into confusion. Launching himself forward, he wrapped both his arms around her and twisted hard, placing her on what he hoped was the top. In a tumble of people he fit the floor hard, and heard her cry of alarm. Looking up, he saw his arms were full of flaming hair. Her eyes were screwed shut, and for a delightful moment she didn’t move. He held onto her as long as possible and then, pushing his elbows under himself, he rose. She opened her mouth to speak, but then saw who it was and blushed. Sitting up together, she found herself in his lap, and then there were hands helping them up, and then off the bus.

Pausing on the curb to arrange the packages in the basket, she tried to smile as she brushed her hands down the front of her dress. He reached out as she straightened and pushed her hair away from a smudge on her check. She barley breathed as he rubbed the spot away with his thumb. She bobbed a bow of thanks, her cheeks crimson, then turned toward home.

And he went with her.

Her mood was somber as they walked, which he assumed was owing to the accident, and they didn’t speak at all. After a few minutes, she sank into a park bench and began to shake. The delayed reaction didn’t surprise him and he sat next to her, waiting for it to pass, ready to assist if needed. She pressed a hand to her head, almost in tears, and her other reached out to him. He caught it and moved closer to her. After a minute she leaned toward him, and his arm went around her. They sat very still for a while, until she sat up, and smiled at him. He smiled and rose, turning to help her up.

Once again they walked along in silence, until they came to a row of shops. He paused before one, motioned for her to wait, and darted into the dark interior. He was back in a moment, a large bouquet of flowers on the crook of his arm. With a smile that bared his soul he presented them to her. She colored prettily and couldn't meet his eyes. Stepping forward, she accepted and bent over them, breathing deeply. He watched as her head came up, the smile of pleasure on her face made all else fade from view. He took a step back and admired his handy work. The flowers did complete the scene, he decided with delight and taking her free arm lead her home.